An American in Paris. Or London. Or almost anywhere.
Approximately 800 students gathered in the UC Ballroom on Wednesday for the Study Abroad Fair.
Manning 62 tables, 70 faculty members and volunteers were stationed to provide comprehensive information about the program, as well as specific destinations.
Heather Grigsby, a study abroad coordinator, said she believes the fair affords students the opportunity to consider many possible trips at once.
"In my opinion, the Study Abroad Fair is an opportunity for students to come and browse all of their different study abroad program options," Grigsby said.
UT's programs abroad department offers internship opportunities, summer and mini session programs, semester programs and full-year programs in 54 countries on six continents. One featured program includes a five week curriculum in Cyprus led by journalism associate professor Bob Legg, Ph.D., that focuses on travel writing and documentary filmmaking.
Legg is a strong advocate of cultural immersion, and said that all students should embrace the unfamiliar.
"I think everybody ought to study abroad," Legg said. "We get so used to being in America where we're so big and so homogenous — even though we have small differences, we're basically all the same, speak the same language — and I think there is tremendous value to be had in going somewhere where all of a sudden you become the minority and you have to deal with another language and with other cultures and ways of doing things."
Students such as Shelby Cundiff, a freshman double majoring in linguistics and psychology, had the opportunity to talk to program leaders like Legg.
Cundiff said her desire to study abroad stems from a passion for adventure.
"I really enjoy traveling," Cundiff said. "I've traveled a lot, and I like the idea of other cultures and experiencing new things, so studying abroad and getting my degree while doing that is ideal."
In regard to her major, Cundiff said she believes her language studies will play a key role in choosing a location.
"I think knowing different languages opens up a lot of my options because I know for a lot of the programs in Europe and especially South America, speaking Spanish opens up the entirety of South America to me," she said. "Speaking a language and learning linguistics and the culture of different languages helps with people, placement and options."
Several peer advisors from the study abroad office also attended the fair to recall their personal encounters. Thien Mai, a senior majoring in supply chain management and minoring in international business and economics, has completed both an internship in London and a program in France.
"I was able to learn things that I could not have learned in the confines of the classrooms," Mai said. "It helped me find out what I don't like and what I like and just to be independent and on my own."